The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


SMU takes the LEED with green building

SMU proudly opened the doors of the J. Lindsay Embrey engineering building Friday, ushering in a new era of energy-efficient building for the North Texas area.

The $16 million facility is the first university facility in the state of Texas to meet the requirements of the gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification.

The U.S. Green Building Council bestows LEED certifications to buildings that attain various levels on its checklist.

The more points a building earns, the higher level of certification it can earn on the four-level system.

“The Embrey engineering building utilizes the most up-to-date technology in renewable and sustainable design,” said School of Engineering dean Geoffrey Orsak.

While SMU’s newest building looks very similar to its counterparts across campus, the interior of the building is unique.

Many measures were taken to maximize the energy efficiency of the building.

The urinals in the men’s room do not use water.

All building supplies came from a 500-mile radius of campus in order to reduce transportation cost and pollution.

Larger windows bring in more natural light, decreasing the need for artificial light.

Orsak said the measures taken to use local materials was very difficult especially during the end of last year’s hurricane season when building supplies were at a premium because of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The measures taken to make the building LEED certified brought the total cost of the building up about three percent.

Orsak said the building is so energy efficient that the additional costs will be recovered in energy savings.

University President R. Gerald Turner said he is impressed with the quick construction of the building.

He added the university is considering using the building process in future projects.

“LEED will affect us in future construction,” Turner said. “Especially because the return gets paid back to you.”

Provost ad interim Tom Tunks said many times faculty members are concerned about how much money is spent on buildings over other faculty initiatives like salaries and endowments.

With the Embrey building, Tunks said the faculty does not have those concerns.

“That bright line fades away,” Tunks said. “The faculty across the university are very supportive of this because it makes their academic life better. Engineering has been needing this for a long time.”

In addition to all of the advances in efficiency, the building was completely paid for before construction was complete.

“We are very fortunate to have building projects fully or substantially funded by the time they’re open,” said Vice President for Development Brad Cheves. “The Embreys made a significant lead commitment and it showed people that if they participated on all levels, they could be a part of something really important.”

At the dedication ceremony, Embrey’s widow, Bobbi Embrey, unveiled a painting of Embrey that will hang in a hallway of the building.

Bobbi Embrey said it was unfortunate that her husband did not get to see his building complete. Embrey passed away in November 2005.

“He is no longer of this world,” Bobbi Embrey said. “But his wonderful spirit is here with us every step of the way.”

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